28 November 2005

and the necessary update for my personal posterity.

my 14 completed pages went back down to 9 yesterday, after my first (at Last) successful forray into getting editorial advice. as we went over the story i realized that it bottomed out in two places, or teetered on the edge of excessive obscurity (not difficult in my brain.)
nearly a crisis, but nothing 7 hours of hair pulling, intense thought, tears, tea, and redrawing didn't fix. i'm back up to 9 completed ('xcept for colour), 7 scrapped, 7 new pages mapped out and ready to draw, and only one spread still a little dodgy. woosh.
it's fucking work, man.
and for what, i ask, at moments like these? WHO KNOWS.
but it keeps me out of trouble, i suppose.


i've been pondering whether or not i want to quit this blog. i think i have (at long last) realized that there are better and more creatively gratifying things to do (when i actually follow though on them). and this medium isn't particularly gratifying to me at the moment. i realized over the weekend that if i were to describe my average day since the onset of colder weather (i work in a tiny office and then go home to my basement apartment and draw scary pictures and read comic books; no tv, no newspaper, no roommates, just me and excessive cranial activity) i suddenly become the sort of person one might well want to cross the street to avoid.
okay, that's excessive. but i have my insular moments, it's true. gaming geeks and toy collectors have nothing on me, at those times.
except perhaps the slightly acrid smell of boys who don't shower enough; the significant lack of attention to personal hygiene and social niceties.
let's face it, it's also weird. you don't have to remember any human contact with people, you can just refer back to the posting of times gone by. i have mixed feelings about this. nothing is interesting when all of it is on public record, i think.

anyhow. i'm not altogether sure, and, since my only obligation was to keep it up for a year (or see if i could), i have 'til 31 December to decide. discussing this matter with Miz R, she said she could take it over for me, and proffered a sample to see if it could pass for mine.

i was Impressed and honored.

buy nothing day...

was friday, and in celebration/dissent we biked through the eaton centre on the tail end of critical mass's monthly ride. we ended up in Dundas Square, (!) that unexpectedly donated the space to the New Kings for the evening, which was followed by impromptu jams with the Samba Allegua (i'm SO sure that's spelt wrong), and hot soup provided by food not bombs. i have to say, the televisions in Dundas Square may have been big, but they weren't the part of the evening that had me dancing, and that's all the reassurance i need as to what the important stuff is.
we ended the evening carrying everything back to Kensington on a rickshaw, and i was, as per usual, Thrilled with the self-sufficient nature of it all.

24 November 2005



nocturnal reveries.

weird dreams about a fat disturbing clown prowling in a dark theatre basement just before show time intent on killing/kidnapping a little boy circus performer (?!?!), and people i haven't seen since i was about 10 cancelling plans over the telephone to go to the theatre with me.
probably a result of reading snippits of strange small press fiction and then going to see Harry Potter.
'xcept that Voldemort isn't fat.

an HOURS-roaming-the-bookshops kind of a night.

read this somewhere:
little boys have dolls too; they're called tomboys.

22 November 2005

the middle stories by Sheila Heti.

how it is that i haven't yet found, read a thousand times, and proclaimed my love in the streets for, this book, is Beyond me.
Glee glee glee.

19 November 2005

mother-ogyny and a hallmark moment.

i have known more than one guy who Hates (to some degree or another) his mother, and for reasons none of them were ever fully willing to even try to articulate, it just seemed to me to be some weird pseudo-macho reason they had for all the reasons they were/are fucked up, and it was all just very inevitable and not even worthy of discussion.
tonight's pilfered quote of choice is for those guys, should they ever happen by this humble blog; thank you MR, and Ian Brown for soliciting the piece and editing the book, which is just So Great.

"When a man speaks of hating his mother, it strikes me as an unexpected tragedy. I resist the notion that "bad" women could somehow also be bad mothers... it's like being angry with the stars—what on earth have they ever done to you but moulded your poor dust into life? ease up. even if she's a coked-up crack whore who beat you daily with a willow switch and let your poor little ass get so red and chapped it almost fell off, she's still been through a lot, and she's still your mother...

she built you
in her body, man."


in my own non-quote-worthy way, i had a moment, standing and chatting on Spadina tonight, thinking about the Miracle of Close Friends, So outweighs my farcical tragedies and frequent complaints, and how Recent some of these have unfolded, been discovered even, in the last year like That, and what exactly am i thinking when i try to convince myself that somehow these friendships don't exist anymore for the taking, that they were reserved for when i was in high school...
(strum of a violin in the distance) eat your heart out, Hallmark, this is the Real Shit.

and my evening spent at a breakfast cereal party drinking strange concoctions of earl grey and gin, discussing science's connections with the real world and outgrowing creative projects but finishing them anyway (which is where all the growing is), and business card art shows with a man of no importance...Shannon Gerard and Scott Waters, you (and your fellow guests) Rock my world.

progress report.

i received accolades from a Worthy (albeit unwitting) opponent on Queen street this morning, who emailed to inform me that i won an inadvertent race with her cab along Queen street on my way to work. (i had no idea) furthermore, she commended me for stopping at a red at Trinity Bellwoods Park, which I confess I find shocking, given the low-risk-for-running-the-red nature of the intersection, but she wouldn't lie, bless her. so I'm making progress! without even a conscious effort, this morning.
truly astonishing.

17 November 2005

and today...

momentary loss of faith (scramble scramble) must stay afloat (scramble scramble)...life, my extracurricular activities, everything, eeeeeeeeee......

delusions of grandeur.

and then i spent some time on the 49th floor of the cibc building at King and Front last night, and realized that of course business people feel superior, who Wouldn't staring out over the city like God from his/her cloud?
it has to affect you, you know, having that view daily...
and then the evening seeing the Lollipop People. all i'm going to do is list their instruments and you, dear reader(s) will understand. two trombones, two cellos, a double bass, a harp, a banjo, an accordion, a harpsichord, and...a BASSOON!!!!
and a vocalist.
tres cool.

i'm sorry Miz R, but i Can't resist...

and really, MR hasn't appeared in this blog for a while, has he?

MR on Wednesday: "How many Rebeccas does it take to screw in a light bulb?... (R):don't worry about me, i'll just sit here in the dark..."
i can only joke about this since we all have chandeliers at the ready with your name on them, lady...:]

15 November 2005

my life's ambition: an update.

13 pages down, three to go. who knew?!?!?


the event is Sunday at the Gladstone. no readings. just panels. All hail non-conventional book launches. 34 authors dissect our fair city and ponder possible improvements. and though i haven't read it yet (i just claimed my copy today), i've perused ALOT of it while helping to put it together, and it seems like it's gonna be Bloody Fantastic.
we'll see. it's timely. toronto needs an ego boost inside my head right now, with the early dark nights and winter coming hither. this tendency for my mind to wander to the nearest airport express at times like these is chronic.

14 November 2005

reading material of late...for shameless posterity in times to come.

in these post-journal times of online proselytizing and kvetching, i've decided to make some attempt to record what i've been reading in a pseudo-consistent fashion, if only for my own self in days to come. so.

let's see... Trout Stanley, a bit too modern for me, but amusing nonetheless; interesting to read a play about twin sisters right after finishing Animal Dreams which used the same metaphor (twin sisters).
Nellcott is my Darling, sweet but not life-changing, I like Golda Fried's short sentences.
Exit by Thomas Ott (graphic novel) FUCKING ASTOUNDING. FFFAANNNTTTASSTICC. a silent genius.
Fell issues 1 and 2, the new comic enterprise of Warren Ellis and Aussie illustrator Ben Templesmith. the cool thing about this comic is Ellis takes a couple of pages at the end of each issue to discuss his and Templesmith's illustrative choices, that is, he explains how his panels unfold in a way that is gloriously innovative (to me, anyhow). for example, panel 1 shows a map of the area from a store to the house of the deceased in the story, with a red dotted line following the street from one to the other. the next panel is an illustration of the same street, with the same red dotted line crossing along it in real-time. panels 3-5 illustrate detective Fell watching the ghost of the deceased and then trying to catch her in his hands, panel 6 shows Fell from behind, his hand still in the empty air where it clasped the ghost's mouth.
there is cleverness at work here, in such a silent and accurate way.
and presently, the unfortunately titled but otherwise Fantastic What I Meant To Say, a collection of essays by guys, about being guys, that arrived at Brick's doorstep for reviewing (no, we don't do reviewing). I snafu'ed it 'coz i recognized some of the authors, and Gods know i could use the insight. and despite the discouraging dustcover, it's really really great. it astounds me how honest people can be in a public context. I wonder if it has to do with the editorial process. These authors have stepped forth with their stories, had them solicited even, considered, accepted, edited, massaged, encouraged, and all manner of engagement from editors, fact-checkers, copyeditors...somehow validating in a way that gives them confidence to proceed with the publication. i mean, they are really personal stories...these essays have confessions and details that I can't Imagine any guy sharing in your average intimate conversation with someone of the opposite gender, save a few select people i know in my life, and even for those, i think, context is everything.

there's also that aspect of something being less loaded when it's being shared with a faceless crowd. i imagine it's like stripping. ha. or blogging, even. it's no longer something personal by very nature of the fact that one (or one's thoughts) is/are being ogled by not only many people (or not), but many people who one wouldn't know from Adam on the street.

what a strange and unfortunate shame, that strangers are privy to more secrets than our loved ones.
well, 'til the book comes out, i guess.

the arrival of Brick 76 and what might actually be a creative breakthrough of my own.

so, Brick 76 is Finally out in the world. woohoo!

before you accuse our cover of looking romantic in a schmaltzy kind of way. temper that thought with the knowledge that the couple in the bushes are Jewish residents of one of the ghettoes during the holocaust.

on a lighter note, R and i can safely say we have made our appearance between the dustcovers of highbrow literature, albeit through a small photographic cameo.

the thrill of having something in front of me that i was involved with from start to finish in a hands-on but still non-pro-creative sort of a way, is of course tempered by the tenacious grind of constant work on a project of my own design that i have been toiling over for about a month and a half now, that is actually beginning to take on some primitive form of completion.

this pursuing of something artistic through to the bitter end is edifying. the more work you do on it the more you want to do, for multiple reasons: a) to justify the time spent on it already b) it begins to open up to you, the more you put into it, and in unforeseen ways, and c), it begets faith. in oneself, in the project, in the nature of creation.
i like this.
of course every time i open my trap to anyone to report on my progress i confront some horror that this too will soon end up in the annals of near-finished projects, due to loss of faith, loss of inclination, or just lack of confidence that it has anything to offer anyone but myself.
but whatever.
on i toil. my little project is a mere 16 pages, a chronological silent film of a comic, illustrations but no words. i look at the 11 pages i've completed (except for coloring) so far, and marvel that i seem to be telling a story. one of those old fashioned, beginning, middle and end stories. my favourite kinds.
like actually finishing a sentence.
of course i still have five pages to go (i have the roughs done for those, which has me hopeful.)

it's a somewhat lonesome undertaking, i confess. how do you relate comprehensive tales of the hours you sit at a drafting table pondering some silent narrative that is only really significant or comprehensive to you (except other people sitting alone for hours at their own drafting tables pondering their own stories and creations).
trying to have a conversation about it is like listening to someone tell you about their relationship problems, when you never liked the guy she's seeing much in the first place; you're talking across a chasm, and trying to be helpful and engaged, but actually find yourself more enticed by the seagulls flying overhead.

anyhow. it's a noble cause, to be sure, and even nobler to think i might actually, by February (my final deadline for this) be able to say i'm Doing exactly what i want to be. we'll see. enough aimless chatter about it.

06 November 2005

let's face it. i'm ruined for everyday living.

03 November 2005


i put aside my little project for the evening to accept an unexpected invitation to bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS, the latest brainchild of Marie Chouinard. it BLEW MY MIND. it was Truly Beautiful and Astounding. the whole piece (like i could do it justice with my paltry descriptions) is a company of ten dancers mixing modern dance and ballet with implements from harnesses and crutches to protheses, ropes, and horizontal bars, creating this raw and beautiful Beautiful portrait of the difficulty of being trapped inside being human. dancers swung lightly through the air across the stage, touching foot down in their partners' upstretched hands and then up again. partners copulated in hanging harnesses while others pulled themselves around by their arms trapped in crutches. point shoes acted as restraints for both hands and feet, horizontal bars were brought out set up like a line from sheet music, through which one of the dancers negotiated herself, and the whole work ended with a series of cables holding all the crutches etc, while one in the middle slowly lifted a dancer up and away from it all, 'til the curtain dropped.
standing ovation, total AWE. it amazes me (when I see work like this) that dance is such a limited audience (well, the house was packed tonight, i'm speaking more generally). it seems like we all share our bodies in common, that should provide a feasible basis for understanding the work of dancers, much more so than alot of other contemporary art that gets out there,anyhow.
it's humbling, too. humbling to see what people can do with the machine they're given to get themselves around in...while some of us just slouch in our comfy chairs watching and marvelling.

thank you thank you THANK YOU for sharing your tickets, Mister Simon.

belated account of all Hallow's Eve (or the weekend preface thereof)

i have to say, somehow, sometimes, i find myself involved in THE COOLEST THINGS EVER IN THE WORLD. EVER.
the AGO put on its annual "Shadow Ball" fundraiser on Friday, and i (cartwheels all over the computer screen) got to be involved this year. though i didn't get to put on stilts or set anything on fire (about which i've been haranguing the powers that be for three years), i did get to wear a gas mask, goggles, and a parachute suit, whilst creating some cool looking light overlooking what must have been a thousand of the more wealthy citizens of fair city during their halloween revellry.
designed by Steve Lucas (creator of Breathe) and Sherri Hay (one of the geniuses (genii?) behind Peepshow), i'm going to take a small moment to try to explain it, 'coz it was a visual feast gloriosa that will never be seen again, i don't imagine.
they took a huge cavern of a room which is the gallery school (probably the only part of the building that is not eviscerated with "construction" right now), and set up a scaffolding along all four walls of the perimeter.then they covered it with white fabric walls, into which had been sewn eight squares of scrim which acted as proscenium(s) of sorts. THEN. eight nightmarish scenarios were set up behind those scrims, and eight actors dressed as insomniacs were sent walking through the crowds and then behind the walls, up ladders onto the scaffolding, and into the scenarios, which were periodically lit up to act out their own worst nightmares. they found themselves amongst flames, caught buried alive underground, in a forest of maniacal chinatown flapping birds, trodden beneath giants' feet, and being chased on a hidden conveyor belt rigged so the backdrop travelled with them in their flight.

i played one of the sand dj's, i suppose you might call it; there were four projectors set up in two corners of the room with plexiglass layers of plates on which we were to fiddle with sand, water, and all manner of our own chosen sundry items; mine were xeroxed transparencies of suicide notes, one from the 18th century, and the other Virginia Woolf's (of course). these images were projected onto the walls above the scenarios, as added icing to the visual feast.

anyhow. the evening was a glorious success, marred only slightly by the AGO's insistence on mandatory safety lights (fluorescents grrr) which made things only slightly less stark than they might have been. Glorious.

(one of the actors, eating bugs.)

(view from one of the projectors, of the dining room tables, a la candlelight.)

(photos belong to Trevor Schwellnus, yet another of the builder/masterminds behind the Shadowball.)

sunday was reserved for Canzine, which has evolved from the big bop days as a kindda disorganized mess of DIY'ers selling photocopies, to those same DIY'ers who've gotten the hang of it all, and are making some Fantastic work, these days flanked at the fair by artists, installations and all manner of craziness.
i was very happily hoodwinked into helping Fran Freeman and a host of others cover a mesh corpse in hand made grass paper, while a dj did something profound and visceral through the speakers, and a forboding video played behind us. we paraded the corpse through the Gladstone and then left it nestled in some leaves a block away in the hopes it would benefit some Halloween revellers.
the evening ended with a liberal gentleman named naked Marvin, a tattooed and talented senior, who stripped down to his tattoos, to the soundtrack of a poison (i think) song, along with friendly Rich of the Brampton indie arts festival.

ah, toronto, how you do thrill me with your strange and sundry events.


doing accounting makes me feel like a fat man on a rusty tricycle, going uphill with the wind against me.